Compassionate Capitalist | Jim Debetta Shares Insights on Inventing & Inventors
Zombie Politics and Casino Capitalism
I mean, it’s hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. HENRY GIROUX: Well, for me democracy is too important to allow it to be undermined in a way in which every vital institution that matters from the political process to the schools to the inequalities that, to the money being put into politics, I mean, all those things that make a democracy viable are in crisis. It’s about a kind of lunacy in which people lose themselves in a sense of power and greed and exceptionalism and nationalism in ways that so undercut the meaning of democracy and the meaning of justice that you have to sit back and ask yourself how could the following take place? How could people who allegedly believe in democracy and the American Congress cut $40 billion from a food stamp program, half of which those food stamps go to children? And you ask yourself how could that happen? I mean, how can you say no to a Medicaid program which is far from radical but at the same time offers poor people health benefits that could save their lives? HENRY GIROUX: That’s right, that the government- the larger social order, the society has no responsibility whatsoever so that- you often hear this, I mean, if there-I mean, if you have an economic crisis caused by the hedge fund crooks, you know and millions of people are put out of work and they’re all lining up for unemployment, what do we hear in the national media? We hear that maybe they don’t know how to fill out unemployment forms, maybe it’s about character. I mean, at one level it spoke to people who have no visions, who exercise a form of political leadership that extends the politics of what I call war and the machineries of death, whether those machineries are at home or abroad, whether they’re about the death of civil liberties or they’re about making up horrendous lies to actually invade a country like Iraq. What it has to do is expanding- what it means to get-a quick return, what it means to take advantage of a kind of casino logic in which the only thing that drives you is to go to that slot machine and somehow get more, just pump the machine, put as much money in as you can into it and walk out a rich man. I mean, to start a party that is not part of this establishment, to reconstruct a sense of where politics can go. In the most general sense, we can say, “Intellectuals are people who take pride in ideas. They work with ideas.” I mean, they believe that ideas matter. BILL MOYERS: If we have zombied politics, if we have as you say, metaphorically, zombies in the high levels of government, zombies in banks and financial centers and zombies in the military, can’t you have a zombie population? I mean, you say the stories that are being told through the commercial corporate entertainment media are all the more powerful because they seem to defy the public’s desire for rigorous accountability, critical interrogation and openness.
According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959, “Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.” In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism primarily in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. Conservatives typically see Richard Hooker as the founding father of conservatism, along with the Marquess of Halifax, David Hume and Edmund Burke. Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism that combines conservative values and policies with classical liberal stances. Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted economic liberal arguments, and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism. National conservatives can be distinguished from economic conservatives, for whom free market economic policies, deregulation and fiscal conservatism are the main priorities. Some commentators have identified a growing gap between national and economic conservatism: “Most parties of the Right [today] are run by economic conservatives who, in varying degrees, have marginalized social, cultural, and national conservatives.” National conservatism is also related to traditionalist conservatism. The American conservative writer Russell Kirk provided the opinion that conservatism had been brought to the US and interpreted the American revolution as a “Conservative revolution”. Officially DC refused the ideology of Conservatism, but in many aspects, for example family values, it was a typical social conservative party. Major priorities within American conservatism include support for tradition, law-and-order, Christianity, anti-communism, and a defense of “Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments.” Economic conservatives and libertarians favor small government, low taxes, limited regulation, and free enterprise. Kenneth Minogue criticized Pratto’s work, saying “It is characteristic of the conservative temperament to value established identities, to praise habit and to respect prejudice, not because it is irrational, but because such things anchor the darting impulses of human beings in solidities of custom which we do not often begin to value until we are already losing them. Radicalism often generates youth movements, while conservatism is a condition found among the mature, who have discovered what it is in life they most value.”